America remembers the 9/11 terror attacks

World Today

People walk past an American flag at the start of a work day, at the Oculus, part of the World Trade Center transportation hub in New York, Wednesday, Sept. 11, 2019, on the 18th anniversary of 9/11 terrorist attacks. (AP Photo/Wong Maye-E)

At Ground Zero in lower Manhattan six single tolling bells ring out and the names of the dead are read aloud under a canopy of hundreds of Swamp White Oak trees.  

It’s very moving to watch and very raw for those who lost loved ones.  It brings it all back.

CGTN’s John Terrett reports.

This year September 11 dawned warm and muggy but the skies over New York ominous looking clouds rattled those who were starring skywards.

The top of the Freedom Tower, which was built near where the Twin Towers once stood, was covered in a thin formation that looked just like the pall of smoke that was seen miles away when the planes hit eighteen years ago.

It was unnerving for a while before the clouds dispersed.

Just outside Washington DC, where another attack partially collapsed the side of the Pentagon, President Trump paid his respects to those who perished on a day he said was, “seared into our souls”

And in a remote field near Shanksville Pennsylvania, families gathered to remember those who died when their plane crashed upside down after a number of passengers onboard attempted to wrest control from the hijackers.  

Their efforts kept the plane from reaching its intended target – either the U.S. Capitol or the White House – no one knows for sure but just a handful of trinkets is all that were ever found at the site.

The attacks triggered U.S. military campaigns – starting in Afghanistan – to combat global terrorism and defined the era of President George W. Bush.

This year Americans have been more than a little surprised to learn that their government was preparing to hold secret talks with the Taliban at the presidential retreat Camp David, in Maryland.

That is until President Trump publicly canceled the talks after a Taliban bomb killed an American and eleven others last week. 

Trump spoke about the canceled Taliban talks while attending a 9/11 ceremony in honor of those who died at the Pentagon.

“We had peace talks scheduled a few days ago.  I called them off when I learned that they had killed a great American soldier from Puerto Rico and eleven other innocent people. They thought they would use this attack to show strength but actually what they showed is unrelenting weakness.  The last four days we have hit our enemy harder than they have ever been hit before and that will continue.”  

But analyst Richard Gowan, of the International Crisis Group based in New York told me exiting Afghanistan was a key 2016 Trump campaign promise and despite the rhetoric, it’s unlikely we’ve heard the last of it.

“I think Trump’s calculation was that Americans as a whole want to see this war end … although the optics of his announcement were pretty catastrophic he will continue to try and claim to be a peacemaker. We’ve seen with North Korea that Trump can blow-up a process and then try and restart it a couple of weeks later. That may be the case with Afghanistan as well.”

Back at Ground Zero the remembering of the nearly three thousand people who perished here continued for over three hours and doesn’t include the hundreds of first responders who have passed away since 9/11, 2001 of illnesses caused by working in the toxic dust at the crash site – the toll grows every year.

Foreign policy analyst Joel Rubin on the US handling of terrorism following the 9/11 attacks

CGTN’s Asieh Namdar sits down with Joel Rubin, president of the Washington Strategy Group, to discuss terrorism since the 9/11 attacks.